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Raymond Parade impresses locals and visitors alike

The Madera Wagon Train, 31st entry in the 33rd annual Raymond Parade on Saturday, April 20.
The Madera Wagon Train, 31st entry in the 33rd annual Raymond Parade on Saturday, April 20. wramirez@sierrastar.com

Even in its 33rd iteration, the Raymond Parade continues to impress residents and visitors.

Leanna Belair, a Sonoma County native, took in her very first Raymond Parade on Saturday. Belair was in Raymond with her husband visiting her daughter Stephanie Habeck and granddaughter Lily Habeck, the latter of which was one of the Mariposa Rodeo royalty.

“Clearly it’s not a very large community, but everyone seems to come together and support each other,” Belair said. “Everybody has a big smile on their faces. I think this parade is very important to this town.”

The parade’s theme was “Celebrating a Small Town with a Big Heart.”

Police cars, firetrucks, horses big and small, half a century old cars and even a vehicle dedicated to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign paraded down Road 600 on a breezy spring afternoon, each adding another brushstroke to the picture of Raymond the parade painted. There were 38 entrants in total.

Children in the audience had their sweet tooth satisfied with candy that many of the parade entrants threw out of their floats.

For Tamara Straughn, a Raymond resident, the highlight was the consecutive dance performances from the Raymond-Knowles School students and Dancers, Inc.

The Raymond-Knowles cheerleaders were first up with a cheer routine to Christian pop track “Gold” by Britt Nicole. Dancers Inc. followed that up with a quick but popular dance to Miley Cyrus’s “Hoedown Throwdown.”

“My favorite were the dance girls. Both were very organized, what a great job,” Straughn said.

The third of the parade entrants was the parade’s grand marshal, Carol Fulmer Saulsbury, an honor awarded to a longtime community member or business that has contributed greatly to the growth of Raymond. Saulsbury rode in on the red and black doctor’s buggy her parents would ride in when they would participate in the parade.

Saulsbury’s family has had a presence in Raymond since the 1920s and she has worked hard to keep alive the legacy that her parents and grandparents left behind.

“I was born and raised here all my life,” Salsbury said of the honor last week. “I feel very honored, very lucky and blessed to be a part of a community that has a lot of history and a lot of generations after generations of (families) still staying here.”

The parade went on for about an hour, but the festivities continued after it concluded.

The Raymond Museum opened its doors for attendees to tour and learn about the town’s history and its connections to Yosemite National Park. Vendors from across the mountain community sold everything from wood carvings to jewelry. And for those hungry for lunch, tacos and barbecue were not far away.

Children were also able to enjoy an Easter egg hunt in honor of the parade only being a day apart from the holiday.

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